Elbow Flexion Test | Cubital Tunnel Syndrome Assessment
Cubital tunnel syndrome is a peripheral entrapment neuropathy of the ulnar nerve at the elbow. It’s the second most common entrapment neuropathy of the upper limb and is commonly seen after trauma resulting in a fracture or dislocation at the elbow, arthritis, or repetitive strain.
Sensitivity ranged from 36% to 93% and specificity from 40% to 99% in different studies. No pooling is possible as the test executions were not identical and different cut-off values were used for what constitutes a positive test. Furthermore, the quality of the studies varied, which is why we give the test at best a moderate clinical value.
To conduct the test according to its original description, the patient is standing or sitting. With the patient’s arms in the anatomical position, the elbows are maximally flexed, the forearms maximally supinated and the wrist is placed into extension. This position is maintained for up to 3 minutes.
The test is positive in case of the reproduction of pain, tingling, or numbness along the distribution of the ulnar nerve during the three minutes. The reasoning for this test is that the aponeurosis of the two heads of the flexor carpi ulnaris, which forms the cubital tunnel is drawn taut over the nerve with elbow flexion which results in compression of the ulnar nerve.
21 OF THE MOST USEFUL ORTHOPAEDIC TESTS IN CLINICAL PRACTICE
Other orthopedic tests to assess for cubital tunnel syndrome are:
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